Ethiopia: What I love
These are just a few of the things that I love about Ethiopia (and will miss dearly once I'm back in S.A):
My friends here don't call me "shiro" for no good reason. One of my favorite things to eat is shiro, typically made of ground chickpeas, chopped tomatoes & some garlic. Heaven on a plate.
Scarf culture: It's not a thing but I just made it one. I love the widespread use of the gabi as scarves. Walking down the streets of Addis you see plenty men, women & children rocking their gabis regardless of the weather.........because wearing scarves in non-scarf weather is the essence of cool.
Eskista: Anyone who knows me knows that my incompetence for dancing rhythmically has never deterred me. With tons of restaurants & bars offering traditional music and dance I find myself in a trance trying to imitate the locals doing their eskista dance.
Coffee & popcorn:
After a meal, trational coffee is typically served with some popcorn. There's no denying that this is a good combo. More so if it replaces desserts ( you don't have to feel guilty having dessert with every meal). And there's absolutely nothing that beats a shot of coffee with aromatic beans ground up the good old traditional way (same way yam or corn is prepared).
I love that the culture of sharing food & literally eating together from the same bowl/plate is still prevalent. It is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of lovers or friends feeding each other ( even in 'modern' restaurants). Feeding (not the whole dinner, usually just one or two mouthfuls) is still regarded as a sign of loyalty and friendship.
Unlike what I'm used to, singing & dancing traditional songs is not earmarked for 'special occasions'. Pop music, restaurants & clubs all seamlessly integrate traditional songs from different tribes across the country. More on culture, I was impressed by how art (specifically paintings & sketches) was used as an integral part of retelling history. All the museums I visited had at least one art exhibition in line with the theme.
Lush & beautiful countryside:
The best way to spend a Sunday afternoon is driving through the countryside whilst buckets of rain pour down to cleanse the earth. The rain exaggerates the beauty of the mountains and the grass & trees. Just green everywhere.
And finally my favourite thing is that when turned upside down, the map of Ethiopia resembles Africa.